Pledge. Thesis Diaries part 6?

So.  Another ‘p’ word for you.  Just now, I was thinking about commitment.  More specifically about commitment to big projects, making goals for oneself, etc.  Even love can be a goal to commit to.  For me, though, I’ve found that this year I’ve had too many things to commit to, yet because all of them are self-orientated tasks, it’s easier for me to give up on some.  Like my tarot card project over on DA.  While I haven’t given up on it, I’ve temporarily put it aside, leaving it half finished, and leaving me feeling disappointed in myself.  My writing project: the Curse Mark, is also on hiatus, only because I find myself unable to continue where I’d stopped.  I think my issue there though is that there were too many plots going on in my head and I didn’t think to draw out a picture to make it clearer.  I’ve started countless projects this year–some I have indeed completed and to which I felt much better doing so after, and others, of course, are still unfinished.

Completed

  • Major Arcana of the Tarot Card Project
  • Digital Manips of the Western Zodiac
  • And Which Way Alice (I consider it a small term goal that required a lot of effort)
  • Series Ender Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Series Starters Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Standalone Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • TBR Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Colours Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Contemporary Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club

Incomplete

  • Minor Arcana of the Tarot Project
  • My steampunk Airballons Digital Manip (still have to upload it)
  • 2 requested/for fun wallpaper ideas for digital manips that I haven’t had the energy or inspiration to do yet
  • The Curse Mark Project
  • A number of short stories
  • A number of poems
  • ABC Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Classics Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • 2015 Debut Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Mythology Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Graphics novel Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Months Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club

Long Term Goals

  • PhD thesis
  • Writing Project: Golden Phoenix

Of everything, I feel like I did accomplish a few things this year, but at the same time, I don’t feel all round accomplished.  I had things I committed to, but didn’t and couldn’t complete (though for the reading, I still have a month to go!  But still, I know I overcommitted.  But how can you help it?  There are so many things you want to do and just can’t say no to.

 

My point is this.  Your thesis, as I’m already thinking about how it’d be like, and if I was to give it a metaphor, it’d be like a Marriage or a Relationship.  It’s a commitment.  It’s not something small or temporary like all the little commitments I’ve listed above.  You’re going to be in this relationship with your thesis for three years (full timers, longer for part timers).  You’re going to definitely hate it at one point.  Love it at other times.  Hopefully you’ll love it more than you hate it.  I’ve already talked about needing to have passion.  Well you need a lot of it.  You wouldn’t get into a relationship halfheartedly would you?  Or maybe you would, but you’d have to have some reason for doing so, right?  I decided to undertake my PhD because I want to teach at Uni.  I want to lecture on a topic I really love, and teaching in primary or high school just doesn’t really appeal to me.  There are other reasons why.  For one, my topic that I’ve chosen is something really close to my heart.  Hopefully, it’s not so close that I won’t be able to dissect it.  But it’ll be close enough that regardless of the arguments we’ll have together, the reluctance on my part to pull  my weight, and the ability of my thesis’ part to be less of a puzzle and more straightforward, I won’t stop moving forward.  I’m only 4 months in.  It hasn’t felt very long, yet my first milestone is coming up.

 

And sometimes, I’m afraid of the commitment.  If my goals listed above is anything to go by, I am both capable of being committed, yet liable to give up if overcommitted.  But I won’t break my pledge.  My pledge that I will see this all the way through even if all that’s left of me is a sack of bones.  Well hopefully there’ll still be flesh.  I’m hoping it’ll be flesh and a number of accomplishments I can be proud of (even though right now, my heart is already palpitating in fear of what I might not end up achieving.  I have so many goals lined up for the next three years, it’s like the lists above multiplied by three.)  If you’re like me, just a little bit of an overachiever, aiming too much for too many things, then maybe it’s time for us to stop.  Take a break.  Think.  Not give up, but just relax a bit!

 

In order to make this marriage work, I’ll need to plan better.   I can’t always study.  But I can’t always slack either.  I can’t make a big list of goals and expect to complete them without a clear plan.  I want to treat this relationship properly and give it all the attention it deserves after all.

 

That’s just it though.  How am I going to plan a writing schedule I can keep?  I don’t know.  It’ll be hard to plan three years ahead, but if I have a rough idea of what will happen when, I think I’ll be more reassured.  At the same time, it’s best if I don’t give myself a really tight schedule, because then stress will be cranked to the max and I will be exhausted.  I’ll also want to enjoy myself, attend conferences, work, have a social life. So, I have to figure it out and think carefully about my schedule.  But dayummmm it’s daunting!

 

And knowing myself, I know my reading and writing schedule will look a little crazy (the deadlines will be a little close and a little impossible but that’s why I make leeway time for myself so that I know I have this much more time to perfect it), but hey, I know I’ll be motivated by the pressure to at least turn out a rough, albeit terrible draft, and then take a break for a bit, because I’ll feel happier that I did something.   And something, is better than nothing!

 

P.s.  Sometimes I why I write these particular posts about my phd journey. But I suppose in my long winded messy way, I’m trying to express what I want to accomplish and do and advise on while on this journey as I’m going a long, but sometimes, I think I should just take my own advice lol!  Rather than spouting it out all on you guys!

Procrastination. Thesis Diaries part 4?

Oh dear…this topic…I bring it up, sadly, because over the last few days, despite the scholarly book in front of me, and the articles up in various tabs on my computer, I haven’t felt like I’ve read much.  Instead, I horrify myself by spending hours and hours on something else….namely, a little project in photoshop.  I don’t know what possessed me to do so, but the other day, sometime either Thursday or Friday last week, I became obsessed with the idea of REALLY trying to create an indepth, detailed wallpaper.  Though, this time, not for my own computer.  I just used the 1366 x 768 dimensions as a foundation.  I really don’t know what possessed me.  It was spontaneous, nutty, and obsessive.  And at the same time, it wasn’t like I wasn’t studying.  I was.  But that’s the problem you see, since although I did do reading, and I did scan through texts, I didn’t do half as much as I probably could if I spent the whole day focussed.

But well.  From Bachelors to Honours to now, PhD, procrastination has become a bigger and bigger problem for me.  And I know why.  It’s because unlike my mum, I don’t believe in having to study all day.  I believe in taking breaks.  Spend an hour reading to a certain page of my book, then take an hour break.  Or depending on the mood.  If stressed, restrict my break time to lunch time, and spend the morning accomplishing a number of goals.  More than anything, I hate feeling like I’ve done nothing!  And so, for many years now, I’ve learnt that it’s important to have these mini goals.  Today, I haven’t really done much.  But yesterday, I made it a goal to finish off the last 30 odd pages of a book I was reading that had been suggested by my associate supervisor (down under, we have two supervisors, one is Main, and the other is the associate), and read one article, as well as go through a few pages of a text I’m looking at.  I did that, and I also got a little further on something else.

Remember I said something came over me?  Well this is what I was working on for many hours–thankfully I don’t study after dinner.  I only study during the day when my head is screwed on tightest, unlike at night, where friends are prone to receiving, odd, nonsensical text messages from me–clearly, I can’t think half as well.  The good thing about not being able to study in the evenings is that I can take on private tutoring and other night shifts for the moment.  And on days with nothing like that of the sort, and since at current, my social life is nil since all my friends are busy with their own careers (there’s just something about this time of the year that has everyone in a frenzy), it’s a perfect time for working on other things.   Such as digital art in Photoshop.  I’ve always been interested in it, but never really had the courage or time to explore various techniques in the past.  In the past, it was always much easier to just get out the sketchbook and draw with pencil and fineliner.  These days I don’t have as much time (and apparently I stress less if I have the laptop in front of me….maybe it’s because everything is digitally stored in soft copy everywhere), and yet have more time to explore and experiment with photoshop.

And so when the desire hit, I just went with it.  My nights over the last few days have been dedicated to this project, which!  I will we be uploading onto my DeviantART Profile here: N-arteest with a full description and list of credits for the stock used.  But for now, because I’m writing this here in a very brief procrastination post about procrastination, lord knows why I’m doing such a thing, I’ll post a few of the Work In Progress images ;).  My dear readers, this is my little gift to you, and well, I’m just really glad it’s mostly finished now.  I can’t believe it took around 12 – 14hrs approx to complete (mostly because I only worked on it at night, and I changed my mind several times, particularly about how it would look.)

The Original Concept

Work in progress 1

This is the original concept I had.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, since I had all these beautiful stock images, some of which I blended together (Like on the right) yet, left me with no wiggle space as to what to do next.  I was so frustrated by this, I didn’t know what to do, so I spent the next day…while reading, and trying to draw lines with all the dots of information I had for my PhD research, thinking about what I wanted to conceptualise in my wallpaper digital thingy!

Work in progress 2

I changed my concept to this.  With a giant stone plinth covered in moss.  And I started thinking of a ‘Which Way Alice’.  Something that was also sparking in my head the day before, with all the paths I had laid out for the female.  So what if I made a concept based on someone given a variety of choices?  And then I started thinking about myself, and about the future, and about the choices we can all potentially make that might seem good, but aren’t.  I mean, even in the original concept I was already considering the idea of making all the various paths seem innocent, yet really, in the depths, it’d show some silent warnings.  The hidden dangers.

Work in progress 3

I’ve added the Archways here, and there, you can see the original concepts there too ^^.   With ‘Alice’ looking on, perhaps wondering which way is the right way to go.

Work in progress 4

And the Last Screenshot here, the last sneak peak before the whole thing goes up on my DA, I’ve gone in for a close up.  The lamp post.  I didn’t know how I would do this part, but when I saw the stock, I knew I wanted a lamp post.  I originally had a vague image in my head of signs surrounding Alice, each one saying something seductive about the various entrances.  But in the end, this is what was conceived.  A sign.  And signs, with a few little touches.  There’s what seems like blood, red paint of some such covering over the part of the signs that says ‘warning’, ‘danger’, and ‘the Future’.  On the other side, there’s the sign labelling the Way Back.  But of course, there’s a chicken standing on it.

In a way, this was kind of related to my PhD, not that I’m doing something based on Alice in Wonderland or anything.  Nor is my research an art project.  But there are similar themes between this and that that seem familiar to me, and in a way, for me to feel less guilty about spending so many hours procrastinating–which I still did because during the day, during breaks, I sometimes scrolled through a whole bunch of stock images when I should have been reading.

And well, yes, I should add here, to sign off for today, that it’s bad to procrastinate!  But we all know that’s a lie.  WE can’t help procrastinating.  Rather, it’s how you manage it, how you tone down the stress and guilt, and do enough research, as well as take enough breaks that’s important.  Burning out early on, with Passion turning into a Passionate Hate, isn’t how you want to spend the three-four years of your PhD.

Untitled.

All I hear

is the silent scream

of the girl next door

whose heart is roaring in pain

as her voice fades

into the neverending rain.

[n.b.] random….little snippet that popped into my head just now.

Passion. Thesis Diaries part 3?

This time will DEFINITELY be short!

I have really only one thing to say.  Being around 3 months into my PhD, I have learnt (though I already knew, seeing as I can’t help but think about things in the long term) that when it comes to your Doctor of Philosophy, and to all the years you’ll spend doing it, the most important thing is this:  Passion.  You have to love what you want to do, have to want to study it immensely, have to have the desire to make a change about something (even if it’s really small, that’s fine! Just don’t think about a Nobel Prize just yet–you’re not ready, or that might be too big a goal if you’re just starting out), and most of all, you absolutely cannot think ‘This sucks. This is boring.  It’s so bloody dry.  I hate this.’

There are a lot of pressures of life, I’m beginning to notice that will make one think about the ‘job opportunities’ that lay at the other end of the continuum–things like financial situation, peer and parental pressure, reality.  Those sorts of things.  But while, I can’t really say so myself, not really, since I haven’t yet passed all my lifetime milestones, I do want to say this.  I want to be able to say next year, or the year after, or the year after that, that I love what I’m doing.  I want to be able to light up, have sparkles in my eyes, and good hair, when I say ‘I have no regrets’ with the choice I made–one that, in the beginning, may not have been very  practical at all.  Yet it’s the fact that there was Passion that makes me light up like that.

Even though it’s hard, and sometimes inconceivable, I want to be able to make choices in the future that aren’t half-heartedly, that are full of careful thought and reckless yet passionate choices.  It’ll be hard.  But before I even began my PhD, I never wanted to not do it.  Even if I faltered half a dozen times and had to endure a long and agonising wait for my application to be processed.

In the end though–particularly today as I sat with my Supervisors in our almost monthly meetings, I could feel it in the air.  I just couldn’t shut up about what I felt and thought even though my brain kept telling my mouth ‘you’re boring people!’  It just kept flowing out of me, what I loved and what I found so far.  And I knew in that moment, I didn’t want to be studying any other topic.  This topic is mine.  I thought it up.  I picked the area.  And though it might seem like an English Literature research, I will definitely make it Linguistics.  This topic is mine.  And I will make it significant in the future, even though I am soooooooo daunted right now, I’m a bit scared I might wet my pants, and I have never done that ever.

So.  (And crap, because bloody hell, this was longer than I had planned!)  Passion.  Find a topic you’re really passionate about when it comes to postgraduate studies, don’t just pick from a list–unless you’re someone who grows into the topic and becomes passionate later on–it’ll just kill you over the two (masters/depends on the masters course) or three (or four or more depending on the PhD course).  Pick something you’ll love–it’ll define you later.  And you don’t want to hate it, right?

Thank you.

It would be nice if I added pictures and gifs in this post, but I don’t want to overshadow the words I want to say.  It’s been three years since I had first made my blog (not exactly 3 years, but approx is close enough), and I have done a lot on here, and also, not enough.  Lately, I have been feeling low, down, and conflicted about various things, but like always, I’m taking it like a champ and going to surge through this to find the bright happy spot on the other side.

In truth, I’ve been meaning to say this for a long time.  Since sometimes I feel like I haven’t said it enough, shown it enough, or even reflected on it enough.  So today’s brief and very somewhat uncharacteristic post of mine, is this:

I want to say Thank You to all my friends, my family, for being there,

for giving me support and advice whenever I untangle my voice from the monster in my throat.

I want to say Thank You to all fellow bloggers for popping in,

and seeing what rubbish I write,

and what pops out of my head at random moments

of a supposedly busy day.

Most of all, I want to say

Thank You 

to everyone who likes my posts,

who comment

who reads

and who have stuck with me

for so long…you have become old friends.

And this,

is my appreciation,

for how much I appreciate you.

I am so grateful,

a feeling so ineffable,

that makes me want to reach through

this virtual world and hug you.

So Thank You.

Thank You All.

❤ ❤ ❤

Paralysis. Thesis Diaries part 2?

This’ll be short.  But on Friday (11th Sep), I went to a Postgraduate Researcher Development seminar about ‘defeating self sabotage’.  Admittedly, I was one of few who were in the early stages of their project–at one month to one and a half months old, I was surprisingly not the freshest PhD student in the room.  There were a couple of two monthers, and there was a guy who was only two weeks in!  This surprised the speaker at the front of the room, because she had expected a lot of six monthers or older students.  But to me, I have barely even started and yet I can definitely fear everything they spoke about on Friday.  It’s not hard.  I wasn’t extremely confident when I did my Honours, and right before I finished my third year, I was already shaky, constantly thinking, what the hell am I doing?  Can I really do this?  Who’s going to think I’m capable?  My work is absolutely shit.

Yeah.  Not hard at all for me to think any and nearly all of these things.  Of course when it comes to writing academically, I got through a myriad of issues–Perfectionism, Procrastination, Imposter Syndrome…you name it, and I’ve probably experienced it already!  And that’s mostly because I myself am someone who has a lot of positivity, but sometimes not enough confidence.  Confidence fluctuates.  It will no matter how confident you are as a person, if enough bad things happen, or not enough good things happen, then it’s easy to feel lacking in confidence (I almost used the word ‘unconfident’ which I don’t think it’s a real word, yet I’m sure it’s been used and as a linguist, I am disinclined to think that it would be wrong for me to say that it’s not a real word.)

And indeed, it hits when you least expect it.  After the big confidence boost I got on Friday (I have a supervisor meeting with both my supervisors, and then the seminar in the afternoon, which while interesting, I actually zoned out at some point by accident–lack of sleep, so bad of me!) yesterday, I did nothing.  I had actually intended to further develop the ideas from the supervisory meeting on Friday, however, when I woke up, I had no desire to get up, and stayed in bed for an hour longer than usual.  Then I did get up, but had no intention of really doing anything work related because for three weeks straight, I had been working non-stop and never really feeling I was going anywhere.  So instead, I planned to go out.  With my mum.  So much fun (slightly sarcastic tone since I’m highly aware of how tedious shopping can become with my mum, since it tends to take longer than planned, and then it usually never goes the way I want it to!) which, at the end of the day, didn’t turn out so bad.  In planning such, I didn’t really expect to be lumped with a whole bunch of spring cleaning chores.  And for the these last few days to have been full of absolutely beautiful weather, sure didn’t dissuade my mother from assigning me to the washing and then after that–cleaning up the yard.

I surprisingly managed to take it all with ease, and not mind at all.  Then again, yesterday I was half asleep and it didn’t help that I wasn’t in much of a mood to argue.  I just wanted to go out, and subconsciously, I was probably also thinking I don’t want to do my thesis stuff.  I’m pretty motivated for my project.  I really want to do it, and have invested a lot of my feelings.  But, it’s also kind of really scary.  I can see my deadlines ahead of me.  I’m really aware of the fact that in just under 11 months I’ll have reached the first year of my phd and be required to do a presentation for the confirmation about where I’m up to.  And then, after that, I have another twelve months.  And then the home stretch in 2017-2018.  Three years seems like such a long time, but right now, it seems like it’s also not enough time.  Particularly, and it kind of makes me glad I decided to write something RIGHT NOW about thesis stuff, I didn’t realise that the Confirmation stage is in about 11 months and not 6 months.

You see, this morning, I woke up, got up almost immediately (around 8.30am because hey today’s a beautiful day and I couldn’t resist the vision of sunlight pouring through the curtain slits), showered, then spent over an hour preparing breakfast (wouldn’t let anyone else help me, plus their breakfast was on me for once), and only a while ago sat down.  It was when I sat down did I feel it.  Paralysis.  A mental paralysis.  Just yesterday and Friday I had motivation and an inkling of an idea of what I wanted to do next.  But the moment I sat down, I realised, a wave of panic came over me, and I didn’t know what I should be doing.  I just had this sudden mental blank.  And it abhors me to know that I could suddenly think ‘what am I supposed to be looking at?’  It makes me wonder if this is happening now, why? And then, what about when it happens next?

I think what terrified me most when I sat down, was the fact that on Friday, I went through so much with my supervisors, and this morning, I was thinking about how long until Confirmation.  And I think, for those of us who are so fresh to the course, to the exciting possibility of being someone great in three years time (well not mindblowingly great, but yet, in three years, you’ll have a title, and also, a field of expertise which one will further build on in the future), and if you’re like me, who tends to freak out excessively at the introduction of new things before calming down for the duration, before freaking out at the end again, then it would still be pretty overwhelming.   Maybe for me right now, I’m still overwhelmed by the future, by my project, and that, in order to feel less overwhelmed, I overwork and research and try to fill the hole even though it’s only been one and a half months into the PhD program.  I think, what I really need is to sit back, take a deep breath and remember, I am not alone, I am only just beginning, and I can do this.  I also think, that I am trying too hard to think that ‘I am not good enough’ right now and trying to accommodate that by working ahead, but for this course, I don’t think there’s such things as being able to work ahead.  Research is constantly evolving and developing, and at best, I can only keep up.  What I shouldn’t do right now though, is lose focus.   If I concentrate on my topic, read about more literature and take deep breaths (aka, also known as taking a break), then the next three years will be both the most stressful thing in my life, but also, most likely, and hopefully, three years in which I can say I was really proud of myself.  And hopefully, remembering these things will help me defeat my temporary mental paralysis (which I’m hoping was only a one of thing, because even for me, I’ve never really had such a mental blank/fear before–exams, while always scary and tense, were things I was always prepared for.)

On another note, here’s the beautiful book I bought when I went out shopping yesterday:

I finally got my hands on the new Throne of Glass novel and I’m excited! Can’t wait to get the chance to read it!!!  (But it’s big, bigger than Heir of Fire, though not by much.)  Whoops, not exactly the best picture, but love the cover!

Whooops this wasn’t as short as I planned.  And also, next time I’ll add some more pictures! >.< so it isn’t a whole chunk of writing.

Random Post. Thesis Diaries part 1?

To be honest, I’m not sure why I’m writing this post today.  I woke up this morning, later than usual.  Rather than some good pre-spring sunlight shining through the curtains of my room, it’s dark.  For a moment, I thought it was still night time.  Still some whacky incomprehensible hour before 7am where most rational (if they aren’t working at job that requires being awake at that hour) people are still sleeping, dreaming of muffins and ugly shoes.  I dreamed ugly shoes onto my friend’s feet once, it was totally random, yet when I woke up the next morning that was the only part of the dream I could remember!  It was odd too, since my friend doesn’t even wear ugly shoes!  She has such great taste, maybe I was jealous? Though I like my shoes too, I suppose having small feet makes it a very limited choice when it comes to buying shoes.  But well, the mind works in mysterious ways.  And I’ve ever dreamed of muffins–dreaming of food is a big no-no, I greatly dislike waking up starved!  So I’ve somehow engineered my brain to think of other things.  Such as my dream last night.  I actually really enjoyed that dream, only, like always…those dreams have a knack of running away from me as soon as I open my eyes.

Nonetheless, after a week of sunshine last week and early wake ups in which I actually wanted to wake up and go and make my work station in the kitchen, sit down with oats for breakfast and start reading the academic literature I’ve got piled up, printed and stapled, I found myself wanting to lie in bed a little longer.  It was pouring was absolutely pouring outside, and the sky was white and grey with clouds, and even though I wasn’t tired, the bed was just too comfortable.

But I have work to do.

My life is pretty simple right now, the most dominant factor is that recently I began my postgraduate studies.  I am nutty enough to take on the P. H. D.  Three of the most daunting letters I’ve ever encountered in my life.  If you asked me four years ago when I started my undergraduate if I would ever think of doing my doctorate once I finished honours, I would have looked at you as though you have three eyes, tail feathers, and holding a chihuahua, and said, “Come again?”  It just wasn’t comprehensible.  I mean, I don’t mind studying, have always had an interest in knowing me, but asking me if I ever wanted to be an expert in the field….honestly, I don’t think and have never thought I’d have the balls for it.   Well, I don’t have balls actually, but you get the expression.

And this morning, while I lay there in bed, I found myself thinking back–you’re never too young to reflect on your life, but it sure as hell made me feel old!  I feel like I’m walking into the beginning of a crucible that will last three years.  And I thought, Omg what have you got yourself into?  The inner dialogue in my head this morning:

Brain:  Get up.

Me:  It’s warm.

Brain:  The shower has warm water.

Me:  The walk between here and there is too cold.

Brain:  But you’ll be cleannnnnn (so the brain entices)

Me:  Bed.  Warm.  I have everything I need.  Even reading materials here….(looks to the books on the bookshelf, looks to her phone).

Brain:  …..

Me:  (grins stupidly)

Brain:  Do you know what they call lying in bed for no reason other than to avoid getting up and doing some work?

Me:  A BREAK?!

Brain:  PROCRASTINATINGOMGWHENDIDMYHOSTBECOMEANIDIOT

Me: Geez no need to overact, clearly if we’re having this conversation, my brain is in the right place.  At least it functions effectively unlike some defective….

Brain: get up get up get up (wails)

Me: No.

Brain: yes.

Me: No.

Brain:  yes.  There’s hot chocolate if you get up.

Me: (Contemplates this, considers the time it takes to make hot chocolate, how warm the shower is….) Okay.

Brain:  SUCCESS.  Self sabotage averted, the host is finally moving, may her research grow in peace…

As you can see from the above, by the time I arrived here in my kitchen–for my room is a terrible study space, though I don’t think I will camp out at my kitchen table for the next three years to study since it would be impossible to concentrate for three days straight if I tried.  But for now it’s okay.  It’s a nicer, open space, more air that’s not as stale as that in my room (even when I open my window, my room is just so blah), and even if I look out the window–this is surprising so depressing to note–all I see are backyard fences, and dead trees (well sort of dead, the fig tree I can see out of the windows on my left has been planted in the garden for two years now, but due to some defect–haunted or otherwise though we suspect that it’s just bad soil–in the land, anything on that side of the house never grows.  Or at least, they live for a period of time, before after struggling for years, they give in and dry up.  Surprisingly though, the plum tree that has been trying to grow for eight years, has actually still kept marching on, even managing to give us a very sour, unripened (cut early by accident), plum last year.  We were so proud we cut it into three pieces and shared it among the three of us, shoving it in one shot.  I think one of us consumers actually spat it back out.  But well, at least we tried it.  And we’re still proud, hopefully this year will actually give us some sweet plums.)

Procrastination.  My biggest enemy.  And I have procrastinated again by writing this, flexing those writing muscles, glancing over at the academic literature, reading one page before coming back.  Nervously excited for the research, BUT HECK IT’S DAUNTING, and already, I see it becoming a huge mess.  However, my goal, for eternity, is to defeat procrastination and also, since I am always, and forever in a civil war with my stress, I plan to figure out a way push it off a cliff sometime.  Both procrastination and stress are big hurdles to jump over, but I figure, if you plan well, you’ll manage both well.  I don’t believe in stressing only.  I believe if you’re stressing or hating or angry at something, isn’t it better to deal with it first?  Even if it’s only for an hour, spend it reading a book, sitting where you’re comfortable, will make you feel better afterwards.  When I first started a month or so back, I stressed real bad (and still stressing) because it felt like I should know everything and already have a clear idea of how to do my project.  No one knows anything when they start their postgrad projects.  You are nothing, you are the ant walking across the football oval, you are a bee in a hive of others, you are one tea leaf in a teacup.  But the prospect that you’ll become an expert by the end, is daunting, and for someone like me, starting such a big project is stressful because my foresight in the future doesn’t extend further than a month.  For a while, I had some how managed to project my entire three years into a week, and of course, such a thing sent my stress skyrocketing, since it was all so overwhelming.  But once I started settling in at uni, meeting supervisors and hearing them tell me what I should do to really begin my research, and as I did start reading the literature, the schedule in my head started to de-warp and stretch, slowly flexing back to its natural shape–three years.  It’s both a long time, and also, not that long.  If you plan properly, you will pass in a breeze.  And since I am clearly only just beginning, I plan to plan well.

Of course, once I defeat procrastination and keep myself happy along with everything else that could upset the balance of ‘successfully completing this’ and ‘being a failure’.  

Things to do in the next week:

  1. Read.  I have to read the literature.  Figure out the holes that I need to fill.
  2. Write.  Academic writing is the bane of my writing existence.  I feel like I try to hard to sound sophisticated.  Academic Language is sadly not an inborn talent, but a time consuming, arduous task that makes me feel like an idiot and not worthy of writing!
    1. I wonder, major I should start a Dictionary section?
  3. Map. First time in a long time I’ll be mapping out my academics before writing.

For no.4 I have discovered I really don’t know how to make nice charts.  I don’t suppose anyone knows how to make an inverted smartart object/relationship hierarchy chart thing?  Actually, does anyone know a good program? I have Free Mind Mapping, and I’ve used smart art in Word.  But it’s just not the same, doesn’t really cover what I want.  

And that, dear readers is the end of a random rant/journal entry of my beginning experiences of my journey.  There’s actually a lot more to tell, and the above hasn’t done a very good job of telling, but I had to get it out.  I don’t know how many of these I’ll do over the next three years, but in a way, I think it’ll be important for me to document my journey.  And I guess I want to be truthful to myself, to express all the things that’ll pee me off, and at the same time, please me.

Hopefully if I do write Part 2, it’ll be more coherent and meaningful than this one.  This one, admittedly is a rant, and not a very good one either.